The financial costs of type 2 diabetes


There may be as many as 4,6 million people in South Africa living with diabetes, and possibly the same number at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Also, this disease might affect your pocket.

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Those diagnosed with diabetes face the risk of life-changing and life-limiting complications unless they receive the care and the support they need to manage their condition well, which means medical bills that some can’t afford.

Grant Newton, CEO of the Centre for Diabetes and Endocrinology (CDE), says it is critical that as a society we start working together to manage the current national crisis posed by diabetes and related chronic health conditions. “Not everyone will develop this potentially life-threatening health condition, but diabetes will affect all of us. We are concerned that in South Africa, 68% of people with diabetes remain undiagnosed.”

It’s costly for most to live well and take care of the wellbeing and manage the disease. Newton says against the backdrop of increasingly scarce and costly health care resourcing, it is imperative that the health sector starts looking at integrated approaches to preventative, community-based diabetes care.

“We are clearly lacking critical research funding and resources to improve healthcare and treatment and there is an urgent need for more education and a change in the way diabetes is managed and funded in South Africa.”

Newton says while one can’t move away from cost restrictions, the real challenge is finding a way of reducing costs without impacting quality care. “We need to start being far more proactive in treating and promoting patient health, particularly when one considers economic studies from the US showing that in people with diabetes, in-patient hospital care account for 43% of the total medical costs of diabetes and that poor long-term clinical outcomes increase the cost burden of managing diabetes by up to 250%.”

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